The name Bamyan means “The Place of Shining Light”. In ancient times, central Afghanistan was the place that was flourished by the Silk Road convoys; it was a stopping point for many travellers who take their trading to the Roman Empire, China, Central Asia & South Asia.
Bamyan province is located in central Afghanistan and has an area of 14,175 km². The territory is mountainous or semi-mountainous. The province has 7 districts and Bamyan town serves as its capital. The approximate population of the province is 0.522 Million. It is the largest province of Hazarajat region of Afghanistan and is the cultural capital of Hazara ethic group that dominates the area. Apart from Hazara’s, there is a small number of Tajiks that also live there.
The province is filled with some famous historical sites like Band-e-Amir National Park, the Buddhas of Bamyan; which have more than 3,000 caves around it and Dara-i-Ajdar. It also has the traces of some ancient towns like Astopa, Kaferan, Feroz Bahar and etc.
As lot of these historical sites have been damaged that’s why after the formation of Karzai administration, the Government is focusing more on rebuilding these sites. The Buddhist remains in the province have been listed as the 100 most endangered sites by World Monuments Fund. The reason of this listing is to put more national and international attention on these sites so that it could be preserved for the long run and its restoration will not affect its authenticity. Today it is considered as one of the safest provinces in the country which allowed for civil rebuilding.
Present governor of the province is Habiba Sarabi. She hold the title of the first and only female governor of Afghanistan. All the law enforcement activities in the province is monitored by Afghan National Police(ANP) & Afghan Local Police(ALP) which is administered by the provincial police chief who represents the Ministry of Interior in Kabul.
Bamiyan is famous for its potatoes; they have a shuttle agricultural system of planting. In winter the seed potatoes were grown in Jalalabad which is a warm area in eastern Afghanistan and then later on in spring they transferred to Bamyan for re-planting.
Before the soviet invasion in 1979, the province used to attract many tourists although these numbers had declined in last couple of decades. It is the first province that had formulated a tourist board known as Bamyan Tourism. Apart from historical sites, the second thing which tourist’s industries feature is skiing. It is said that the province has one of the best outback skiing in the world. In 2008, the Aga Khan Foundation with the collaboration of New Zealand Government’s International Aid Agency (NZAID) launched a project of $1.2 million for promoting skiing in the region. The province also hosts the Afghan Ski Challenge with the support of its principal sponsor Tissot the Swiss watch manufacturer every year, in this challenge the participants have to ski 7 Km downhill race over un-groomed and powdered snow.
The province only had one university, Bamiyan University, but now the government is paying attention on education and healthcare sector in the province and that’s why we have witnessed a slight improvement in these sectors.